Thursday, 14 January 2010

Why We Can’t Trust A. Stoner

It appears that NSW Nationals leader and acting NSW opposition leader, Andrew Stoner might be a fan of The Australian Heroin Diaries. After constantly reading about his cohorts getting so much attention here, it seems he has made a gallant effort to join them. And his efforts will be rewarded with some well deserved recognition from us. Here we go.

Andrew Stoner ... you’re a DICKHEAD!

Why is Andrew Stoner a dickhead, you ask? Well, Stoner is the latest Australian politician attempting to gain voter support by spreading lies and attacking the scientifically proven drug policy of Harm Minimisation. The outrage was triggered by a pamphlet from NSW Health - Drug Safety: Guide to a Better Night that was reportedly available to young people at “music retailers, clubs, libraries, TAFE bars, universities” etc. Hmm. Aren’t some of these places restricted to adults over 18 years old? When they say, “For God’s Sake, Won’t Someone Think Of The Children”, it must also mean the kids who illegally enter adult-only premises.
To put out a pamphlet that says Guide to a Better Night ... I think it's sending a message that to have a good night you ought to be taking drugs
-NSW Nationals leader, Andrew Stoner

Yes, he did actually say that. Stoner and others feel that giving warnings and safety advice to drug users/addicts somehow triggers kids to suddenly take up drugs or it sends the wrong message that you need drugs to have a good time. A far stretch by anyone’s imagination. The excitement was obviously having an effect on Stoner and he blurted out this beauty.
Clearly, the NSW Labor government has a philosophical approach that legal [sic] drugs are okay as long as you take them safely (but) we don't want anyone to take drugs.
-NSW Nationals leader, Andrew Stoner

It wasn’t clear if Stoner was most upset about kids having access to the pamphlet or if it was a general swing at Harm Minimisation. I don’t think he actually knew himself and it only got worse when the anti-harm minimisation nutters joined the fight. First there was Brett Murray, the motivational speaker, author and everyone’s favourite youth inspirer in the lucrative Jesus circuit.
I think this is just a sheer sign of surrender
There's going to be people out there who commit pre-meditated murder - do we make sure that we have a little pamphlet saying `(ok,) but make sure that you do it in groups'?
-Brett Murray in the Sydney Morning Herald

Followed by our old friend, Darren “Maaate” Marton who gave this magical oration:
Why isn't the government coming out with programs educating young people how to say no to drugs and also how to help their friends? Instead, they keep churning out this harm-minimisation philosophy at the expense of our kids
-No Way Campaign Foundation founder Darren Marton in the Sydney Morning Herald

The Sydney Morning Herald were so riveted, they misspelt Darren’s name. And that was it for Darren.

So we have one guy comparing drug use to pre-meditated murder and another warning us that the evil drug policy of Harm Minimisation was costing us our kids. Some profound theories for us all to ponder.

All this hooha because a health safety pamphlet written for 18-29 year old drug users was found at places that young people might visit ... and other age groups as well. What was in this controversial pamphlet that had the NSW opposition apply for it under the FOI act? From various media articles, I found that it includes this:

-Tips for having a safe night
-Urges young people not to use drugs alone
-Advises to ignore friends who put pressure on you to take a drug when you know it doesn't suit you
-Advises young adults about finding the illegal substance that suits their personality type
-And other radical information for our young, delicate readers.
The Opposition yesterday slammed the brochure as a disgrace and families flagged a campaign to force the Government to toughen its anti-drugs messages to young people
-The Daily Telegraph

I want to know why you have to turn 18 to be a drug user/addict. I keep hearing that this information is not suitable for young people. But isn’t this the main flaw behind the anti-harm minimisation argument? - you can not deal with such a complex issue like drug use by slotting people into neat little boxes or using simple, one-size-fits-all policies. If this pamphlet is not available to a 16 or 17 year old, will they simply not take the drug they have just purchased? Is this the type of assumptions you make when you’re so used to regurgitating the, Just Say No myth? I’m sure many anti-drug warriors actually think this way and all the evidence in the world is not going to compete with the back-patting and political point scoring that currently exists.

Acting Opposition leader Andrew Stoner called for the guide to be pulped, saying the harm minimisation message will not solve the problem of drug use
-The Daily Telegraph

I wonder if Stoner really understands what harm minimisation is when he makes such damning statements? Like many of the other dickhead politicians who recently embarrassed themselves, it appears to be a case of political opportunity mixed up with ignorance and personal beliefs. Jumping on the anti-drugs bandwagon might be a proven vote winner but increasingly so, you have to sell your soul to the scientifically challenged group known so fondly as the “Anti-Harm Minimisation Nutters”. That puts Stoner in the elite company of Fred Nile, Steven Fielding, Peter Debnam, Anne Bressington, Bronwyn Bishop, John Howard etc.

Lucky him.

Call To Pulp NSW Government's 'Drugs Are OK' Guide
The Daily Telegraph/AAP
January 2010

A NSW Government brochure advising young adults about safe drug use should be pulped because it sends the wrong message, the state Opposition said.

The brochure Drug Safety: Guide to a Better Night offers tips for drug use and advises young adults about finding the illegal substance that "suits their personality type".

The Government has come under fire for making the pamphlet freely available to young people through outlets such as music retailers, clubs, libraries and universities, with some youth workers saying it "surrenders" in the war against drugs.

But NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt has defended the guide, saying it has been distributed to an 18-29 age group with harm minimisation in mind.

"The Government's first position is that people shouldn't do drugs," she told Macquarie Radio.

Acting Opposition leader Andrew Stoner called for the guide to be pulped, saying the harm minimisation message will not solve the problem of drug use.

"Clearly the NSW Labor Government has a philosophical approach that legal drugs are OK as long as you take them safely (but) we don't want anyone to take drugs," Mr Stoner said.

"This ought to be pulped completely. This is sending a message that illegal drug use is OK.

"We ought to be putting our resources into ensuring kids stay off drugs and, for those who have actually become addicted, into helping to get off drugs."

If the Government does pulp the guide it would be the second time in two years it has been forced to take such drastic action.

In 2008, former health minister Reba Meagher ordered a drug guide aimed at year 9 and 10 students be destroyed because of community outrage over its similar harm minimisation approach.

Related Articles:
Accepting drug use does not mean condoning it - SMH


TerminallyUniq said...

I love this post ... the subtle sarcasm made me smile, even as the issue at hand is so aggravating. I find it ironic and pathetic that the talking heads over here (U.S.) were having the same, exact conversation in recent weeks. In New York City a pamphlet was similarly distributed, describing safer needle use, etc. And all the same profound arguments against that one abound.

Kristina Keneally said...

The bottom one.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks TU for your comments.
I'm glad I made you smile. The issue is very aggravating as you mentioned and there's not much to smile about. It's people like Andrew Stoner who keep feeding the public such dribble which they lap up like sheep. Don't people think for themselves anymore? I also blame the trash media who perpetuate these myths and lies.

I did read about the hooha in NYC and was equally pissed off.

Thanks for visiting. Come back soon.

Thanks Kristina for taking time off from parliament. Been busy?

I sorta guessed you would pick "a stoner" as being more trustworthy than "A. Stoner".

celltech said...

Great effort. I have also become deeply frustrated with this issue. And the Australian media's completely lame effort. Unfortunately this is the best we will get from our leaders,sitting on their tax-fattened arses. I wonder what chemmical it was, that actually caused Gemma's death. These critical details, (eg. what was in the pills) seem to never get followed up on. Meanwhile, Collin Barnet's face seems to look increasingly pressurised over time. Like a shiny red plastic icecream container face. My dislikeing for him began when he made remarkably moronic comments over the drug death of this Gemma, here in WA. I find these articles very refreshing, thank You very much.


celltech said...

Oops, my comments may be better placed with one of the previous posts. What a wally.


Terry Wright said...

Thanks for the compliments Celltech (LS).

I agree that the much of the media is lame. It just blows my mind that so many people read the Murdoch trash and take it in as gospel. Are we really that stupid and ignorant that we can't see through the constant muck produced by News Ltd?

The heartless comments made about Gemma by Barnett and the WA police commissioner were disgraceful. They are so far removed from society that it was just a political opportunity for them. Old, Mr "shiny red plastic icecream container face" is the epitome of today's politician, very much in the same style as John Howard. Yes, Barnet does always look under pressure. I always think he's about to explode. He has that pressurised look. LOL.